Court extends Arvind Kejriwal's ED custody till Mon

A local court here on Thursday extended till April 1 Enforcement Directorate‘s custody of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in the excise policy case. The agency had sought seven-day custody of the AAP convener.

Kejriwal on Thursday addressed the court in person. Arguing in Hindi, he alleged ED’s sole “mission” was to “falsely implicate him and destroy the Aam Aadmi Party“.

Kejriwal said he was not opposing his further custodial interrogation but alleged that his arrest was nothing but a “political conspiracy”.

He alleged that ED’s intention was to run an “extortion racket” by creating a “smokescreen”. Kejriwal further alleged that a certain accused involved in the case had donated money to BJP via electoral bonds after he was arrested. He further claimed that after the donation, the bail plea of that accused was not opposed by ED.

Kejriwal claimed that he has “proof” to establish that Sarath Reddy (co-accused) donated ₹50 crore to BJP after being arrested. “I have evidence that a racket is running. Money trail is established,” Kejriwal argued in Hindi. Challenging his grounds of arrest, he argued that the “only evidence” against him was “selective” statements given by accused-turned-approvers in the case.

Claiming that Kejriwal was “playing to the gallery”, additional solicitor general SV Raju alleged Kejriwal remained “evasive” during the six days of custodial interrogation by ED. Raju further argued the allegations of donation to BJP is not a subject matter of the case. In its remand paper, seen by ET, ED has claimed that Kejriwal was confronted with former Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s personal secretary.

The remand paper claimed that as per the statement of one of AAP’s Goa candidates, “he was not having any money and his election expenditure (all expenses for rallies/events/public hoardings) was taken care of by AAP office, Delhi, through their associates”.

ED has claimed that it has analysed data of a mobile phone belonging to Kejriwal’s wife. “However, data from other four digital devices seized during search” at Kejriwal’s premises “are yet to be extracted” as he “has sought time for providing password/login credentials after consulting lawyers”.

ED has further submitted that “some of the documents/details such as movable/immovable property details, ITS, other financial details, etc were sought and he told that he would inform the same to counsel/family member and the same information will be shared by them. However, no details are furnished by him and his counsel/family members”.

The agency has also called for the “visitor register” from Kejriwal’s camp office. ED told the court that it was informed that “there are no registers maintained. However, it is learnt that appointments are made with Delhi CM in an online system/portal in CM’s office. Hence, the same are sought again from the CM’s office. The same are awaited”.

ED has also summoned senior excise officials from Punjab who, the agency alleged, “were involved in arm-twisting certain wholesalers of Delhi when these wholesalers refused to pay the demanded bribes in Delhi”.

As per the remand paper, “factories of these wholesalers were either shut down or not allowed to dispatch their goods in Punjab by these Punjab excise officials when the demands of bribes were not fulfilled in Delhi”. The officials, however, could not appear in the past six days on account of Hooch tragedy in Sangrur Punjab and hence sought time to appear before ED.

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